Iceland: more than just the Northern Lights

My trip to Iceland will always be one of the most-memorable experiences of my life.

Northern Lights

While I have sometimes felt indifferent about certain places I’ve visited, Iceland is definitely not one of those. Having booked my trip primarily to try and see the Northern Lights, I left having discovered that this Nordic island has so much more to offer.

I can remember the first time I got the longing to see the Aurora Borealis – I was on a long-haul flight and the pilot woke us up to announce that the Northern Lights were making an appearance. Unluckily for me, I wasn’t sat on the right side of the plane to see them, and I wasn’t too sure how appropriate it would be to scramble over the passengers who were. Since that disappointed moment I always knew I would one day plan a trip to try and see them.

Close to spectacular waterfalls, ice glaciers and geothermal lagoons, the capital city of Reykjavik was a perfect base to spend four nights in my search for the lights.

View of Reykjavik
View of Reykjavik from Hallgrímskirkja Church
Steel sculpture
Sulfer Sun Voyager sculpture, Reykjavik
Hallgrímskirkja Church, Reykjavik
Hallgrímskirkja Church, Reykjavik

Despite my efforts to find out where and when the best time to see the lights might be (I went in February/March 2014), I knew that I would never be guaranteed to see them. It was ok though, because when I discovered everything that Iceland had to offer, I knew I was going to have a great time no matter what. Seeing the lights would just be a bonus.

Having great company was also a plus – it wasn’t too difficult to talk my husband and another couple into the trip. We stayed with Reykjavik4you, a great 2-bed apartment on Bergstadastraeti 12 in the centre of Reykjavik. When travelling in a group I often find it’s cheaper to book an apartment or home than several hotel rooms. It can even be just as cheap for two people. You get lots more space and all the comforts of home.

Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon – there’s something so exhilarating about taking a dip when it’s freezing outside – thankfully the water was hot!

All of our airport transfers and excursions were booked through Rejkjavik Excursions, who I can highly recommend.

We booked our Northern Lights excursion on the first night as you get to return for free the second night if you don’t see them. Luckily we didn’t need to – they did make an appearance, and a spectacular one at that. If you’re planning a similar trip please don’t just bring along your camera phone – the only way you can capture any shots that do the lights justice is to have a camera that allows you to adjust your shutter settings. The lights weren’t as colourful to my own eye as they are in photos – more of a green white – but nonetheless the way they danced across the night sky was breath-taking, and I was so pleased I had finally got to witness this magical spectacle of nature.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

If I hadn’t have seen the lights I can’t deny I would have been disappointed, but everything else we packed into our trip, such as snowmobiling atop Langjökull glacier and relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, made the adventure so worthwhile.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park – where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart
Waterfall
Gulfoss Waterfall
Geyser
Geysir geothermal area

Eating in Rejkjavik

Most people will tell you that Iceland is expensive but having a self-catering apartment meant we could get supplies from the local supermarket and save ourselves some pennies by cooking in. We did treat ourselves to a fine meal at Fishmarkadurinn on our last night. Specialities include minke whale and smoked puffin. Of course we also had to try one of the infamous hotdogs from Baejarins Beztu Pyslur.

DinnerDinnerDinner

 

 

 

 

We flew to Iceland from London Gatwick on Wow air – quite fitting really as that pretty much sums up how I felt about the whole trip – just, WOW!

Our 3-day itinerary

Day 1: Exploring Reykjavik; Northern Lights excursion

Day 2: Golden Circle and snowmobiling tour – Þingvellir National Park; Geysir hot springs; snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier; Gulfoss waterfall

Day 3: Blue Lagoon

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Therie says:

    Iceland is definitely the land of fairy tales. It’s just too beautiful. Looks like you had one magical adventure there!

    Like

    1. It definitely is! I’d love to go back one day

      Like

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